Fellow Championship contenders, Alex Yontz and Brandon Ward hoped to gain on Grissom’s misfortune, but they had their own problems to deal with. Ward had qualified in the 12th position, and was stuck there for most of the night. With Grissom out of the race, Ward was never a factor in catching up with Yontz and putting more of a cushion between the two.
Yontz qualified in the ninth position and after his bad luck on the first lap of the last Tri-County event he was a little hesitant.
YELTON MAKES A STATEMENT IN UARA EVENT AT TRI-COUNTY by Amy Hayes
Dominates all 150 Laps, Championship Contenders Not a Factor
With only two races to go in the UARA-Stars 2006 Championship chase, Saturday night’s event at Tri-County Speedway (NC) didn’t say much about any drivers’ championship hopes. The only person who made a statement was Jamie Yelton, and he made that statement for all 150 laps.
“It was a pretty good race for us,” said Yelton, who almost skipped the Tri-County event. “These guys weren’t sure if they were going to come and then we just decided to come. And these guys wanted to work. and sometimes hard work pays off. It feels good to get this win for my guys. I am tickled for them and for everyone else who helps our team.”
Yelton started the event second, and as soon as the first green flag waved he took off and didn’t look back. That left the rest of the competitors and the championship contenders, Brandon Ward, Kyle Grissom and Alex Yontz to duke it out behind him.
RA Brown was the man who took the checkered flag second, and he seemed to be the only one who had anything for Yelton.
“Jamie was awful tough,” said Brown. “I think if we would have had some green flags laps that we might have something for him but on the restarts he pulled us pretty good. We had some green flag laps there and whenever we had a long green flag run we would catch up with him a little bit but he did a great job.
Jamie Yelton found himself back in victory lane at Tri-County. (51 Photos)
“It was a lot of fun running up front with those guys. Me and [Kevin] Leicht were passing back and forth a few times, it was good clean racing.”
Grissom, who went into the event second in points was a championship contender who fell to some bad luck during the event. On lap 18, a fellow competitor lost a tire and Grissom had nowhere to go but into the left side of the other car. The damage on the 31 was too much to continue and so the car was parked for the rest of the night.
“Before the event, all I did was want to make it through the first corner,” laughed Yontz. “It was a really good points night for us. I wish that we could have come home a little bit better but I just abused the car, to be honest with you, on the start. I didn’t have any right rear left and on the start it just got really loose and I was just hanging on.”
And he did make it through that first corner. After that, there was nowhere for Yontz to go but up. He made it up to a high of third, and settled for the fourth position after a hard charging Matt McCall took the third spot from him.
Although Yelton was out front the entire night, it looked as though at one point he may have some competition as defending Tri-County winner Kevin Leicht was on his way up through the field. He started in the third position and was up front all night long making the high side work, while many of his fellow competitors hung around the low side.
Near the end of the event, at lap 124 when Leicht was continuing to move up, Yontz and Leicht made contact on the track and that sent him spinning which ended his hopes of claiming his second UARA win.
“I don’t really know what happened,” said Leicht. “I think the #55 just got into the corner a little too hard and got into us and that turned us around. Then someone else behind us came in there and t-boned us there.
“Really it just tore the frame up. It’s mostly body, it didn’t really hurt it too bad but we aren’t running for points or anything so it was kind of a have fun race, and all the fun was out of it after that.”
While Leicht’s spin may have taken the fun for him out of the race, it took some of the competition out as Yelton took home his third checkered flag of the season and left the championship contenders to duke it out for points and position behind him.
The Championship will come down to a final showdown at Hickory Motor Speedway, next Saturday with racing action at 7:00 pm and Speed51.com will be there to see who is going to be awarded the 2006 UARA-Stars championship.
Kevin Leicht had high hopes of repeating his Tri-County win, but contact with the wall ended those hopes.